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This is my absolute FAVORITE set of lessons that I do EVERY YEAR in my classes. I have NEVER shared this unit with anyone before, but I have had so many teachers hear about it and ask for it, so I decided to go ahead and share!!!
I have included all of the pieces I use for this set of lessons.
This kit includes:
These 7 poems flow together to tell a story of a college student who was gang raped by 3 men during her freshman year. I use this mini unit to introduce my larger unit on "Tolerance, Diversity, and Adversity." We go through each poem as a class and analyze each one for deeper meaning, symbols, theme, purpose, etc.
I usually do one poem a day with my classes. On the last day, the students feel like they know the speaker of the poem, as by this time she has become a detailed character the students have connected to.
AND THAT'S WHEN I DROP THE BOMB ON THEM:
I ask them to remember what the author's name is. They tell me, "Leah Michelle" as it says on the paper. I write that name on the board in large letters.
Before I tell you what I do next, I need to explain something:
My name is Emily Meredith. My middle name is Michelle. I am the actual author of these poems, and the poems tell a TRUE story of my encounter during my freshman year of college.
Once I have "LEAH MICHELLE" on the board, I ask them to look at just the first name. I ask them, "What other words can be made from the letters in the author's first name?"
Once someone figures out and says the word "HEAL," I write it underneath "LEAH." Then I explain to them that Michelle is my middle name, and it has always been my pen name. Then we put those 2 words together:
Finally, I tell them that this story is real, and that the speaker is me. I saw a therapist for this for several years, and he had me do a lot of writing as a form of therapeutic release.
These poems are very powerful, and would be for anyone--even if you don't have that super dramatic ending :)
These are great for learning and practicing analysis on short pieces before delving into extensive and lengthy literature analysis.